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WA welcomes Rio, BHP green steel plant

BHP, Rio Tinto green steel project

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook has welcomed the announcement of Rio Tinto and BHP’s major green steel project with BlueScope.

The majors announced last week that they are set to join forces on the development of Australia’s first ironmaking electric smelting furnace (ESF) pilot plant.

The technology is designed specifically to use Pilbara iron ore as a feedstock, which Cook said could potentially provide a unique selling point for the state’s iron ore products in the future.

“Western Australia is in the box seat in the global energy transition, and my Government is committed to securing a strong future for WA, creating long-term local jobs in a clean energy economy,” Cook said.

“WA is best positioned to support a low-carbon steel project, given our vast reserves of high-grade iron ore, mature and advanced iron ore industry, local technological know-how, and significant renewable energy opportunities.

“We look forward to engaging with Rio Tinto, BHP and BlueScope on how we can support this project.”

The companies will assess several locations in Australia for the proposed pilot facility, with commissioning aiming to begin as soon as 2027.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister David Michael also welcomed the project.

“The global push to a low-carbon economy provides Western Australia with a unique opportunity to play a key role in efforts to decarbonise the steel-making supply chain,” he said.

“The support of new technologies by Western Australian iron ore companies demonstrates the commitment and foresight of a responsible and sustainable industry.

“I look forward to the development and progression in Western Australia of this and other low-carbon steel technologies that can be supported by our renewable energy opportunities and world class mineral reserves.”

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